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Monday, August 23, 2010

Kye's New Schedule

When Kye dropped his morning nap a couple months ago I started to feel like I wasn't being the kind of parent I needed to be. Instead of filling the void of time in his day with something predictable for him, each day was what Toddlerwise would call "random chaos" (a playdate here...errand running there...I just kinda did whatever I felt like during the time period when he'd normally be napping). I'm thankful, in a sense, that Kye started to misbehave because it was my wake-up call to pick up Toddlerwise for a second reading. I'm so glad I did!!! This quote from the book made me realize that I needed to get Kye's schedule back on track: "Frequent tantrums, whining, a disregard for rules, inappropriate or aggressive behavior, constant demands, and an inability to share are some of the signs that your child needs more structure." Since Kye was BORN his entire day has been revolved around a consistent, organized, predictable schedule. He has thrived on that schedule. It makes natural sense that when he was no long able to know what was coming next in his day, to have that security that routine offers, and to have his day filled with fun, age-appropriate activities that he would start misbehaving. It was time to change things up in our household!!!

Toddlerwise discusses the importance of a scheduled day and says to literally write it all down to figure out the best schedule for you and your family. I already had a basic schedule nailed down (as you see each month), but I wanted to rearrange things to better suit our busy lifestyle AND I wanted to incorporate new activities that I feel are important to Kye's development. Here is our new schedule with explanations for what each thing is and WHY it's important (after my discipline and spanking posts I really think the "why" for things is VITAL don't you? Actually, Toddlerwise even touches on that too):

7:15) Kye awake: He usually wakes up on his own around this time or Zach will go in and get him up. Toddlerwise says it's important to get in the morning routine of having the child get dressed and straighten up their beds. Obviously Kye is still in a crib so there isn't much straightening to be done but Zach will get him up, change his diaper, put him in play clothes for the day, and comb his hair (while Zach's doing all of this I'm making his Magic Breakfast which disgusts Zach to prepare).

After Breakfast) family Bible time: After Kye is done with breakfast (typically around 7:45) I will clean up and he will run a little wild then we will go into the bedroom with Zach and have family bible time in our bed together. Most mornings Zach hangs out watching Saved By The Bell in the bed until time for work so we decided to move Bible time to the mornings. We originally wanted to do it after dinner each night but we eat with other people so often that it rarely ever worked out! Isn't a time of Bible study and prayer a great way to start the day as a family?

After Bible time ~8:00) Teeth, Roomtime: After we finish our time togethe,r I take Kye to brush his teeth, then get his room prepared for roomtime. For safety reasons I always make sure to open his blinds, put the blind cord up on a shelf, put his fan in the crib, close the crib, close the closet doors, and put a blanket covering the drawers of his diaper changing table so he can't open them and pull it down on himself. I get out plenty of toys for him (always rotating them out to make sure they keep his interest as Toddlerwise advises), set a timer for 30 min (we have a cute pig one I found on Ebay for $0.99) then I leave the room (I don't sneak out...I say "bye bye" and leave). I leave the door open but we have a baby gate in the hallway so he can come out to the hall but no further. The purpose of roomtime is to teach your child to learn to play quietly by himself for a period of time. This helps him learn to focus and to play independently without someone there to "entertain" him. Kye always did GREAT at independent playtime in his pack-and-play and this is just an extension of that. He did fine with roomtime at first but once we dropped the morning nap he struggled with it some but now is slowly getting better with it. He will cry, often for 10 min or so, but he is learning that playing is a LOT more fun than crying (I always sneak a peak to make sure he's safe when he is crying). RIGHT when the timer goes off, roomtime ends and he will come running to the gate to wait for me. I shower him with praise and we spend time together cleaning up all the toys he played with.

~8:30) Learning Time: This time in our day I actually did not get from the book but instead heard about through the Babywise Blog. I personally believe that one of my duties as a parent is to prepare Kye for school, whether it is kindergarten or maybe even preschool. Since I am home with him all day I think that part of our day should be devoted to enriching his knowledge about the world in which we live. Homeschooling is mega hot right now and even though I will NEVER legitimately home school my kids (nothing personal, I just feel like the social skills learned in school are vital!) I use Learning Time as a kinda homeschool time I guess. I will be posting on Learning Time later as it's WAY too detailed to list here but I'm following the guidelines on this site   if anyone is interested. Kye really has started to enjoy this time and I think it's a great thing to teach him how to sit still (in his high chair), pay attention, and participate. He colors everyday during this time and that's great for his cognitive learning as well. I also enjoy this time because I feel like I'm directly teaching him something! As he gets older I plan to include crafts into this time slot as well and other learning activities from this site.

~9:00) Outside Time: After learning time, we put on sunscreen and shoes then go outside. Typically this is from 9:00-10:00ish. Our normal routine is to go on a walk so I can get some exercise in (I mean it's so hot out that I WILL sweat so why not burn some calories too?) and during each walk we stop at the neighborhood playground for at least 20 min so Kye can burn off energy with me. If we don't walk then we just hang out outside the house and play with his outdoor toys (usually golf). If it's raining then obviously we just play with toys inside. I like that this schedule is FLEXIBLE (as Toddlerwise says all schedules should be!) so if we're having fun we can play outside longer, if it's too hot we can come in earlier.

After outside time ~10:00) Highchair time: I'm not really sure where I heard about this one from but I like it! It's important for Kye to learn to sit and focus his concentration on one thing so everyday I put him in his highchair and leave him on his own to play with a puzzle. He enjoys this time which kinda surprised me! Usually after 5-10 min of him playing on his own with it I'll come over and "quiz" him with it (like say "hand me the boat" or whatever and see if he knows which piece is the "boat" or point to the object and have him match it). It's a good thing to do to calm down and cool off after being outside. For me I've been thinking those 5-10 min when he's puzzling it up I should clean something in the house b/c I'm already sweaty anyway so why not? Maybe it'd help me be a better housewife :)

After high chair time) free playtime with Mommy: Toddlerwise discusses the importance of set-aside time with each parent and even though Kye is home with me all day I still think it's valuable to have a set time for just us to play together doing "whatever" he wants to do. Free playtime is valuable in letting Kye have control over what he chooses to do and getting to show his personality and interests. The alone time with me helps remind Kye how special he is to me (this will be more important when he has a sibling someday of course!).

11:00/11:30) lunch: I was hoping to push Kye's lunch back to 11:30 but most days he still starving by 11:00 so typically he eats then.

After lunch 11:30ish) Clean up, video time: I will clean up after Kye's lunch then turn on his Your Baby Can Read video. To my surprise, Toddlerwise actually has a video time built in to their recommended schedule! It says instead of falling into the habit of putting on a video when the child becomes restless or whiney, learn to structure a video in a time that works for you. It also recommends that toddlers only watch a 30 min long video (which is perfect as that's about the length of YBCR!). Since Kye grew out of his Bumbo chair (like forever ago) I've been strapping him into his chair from his swing (it converted to a "toddler seat"). Now that he can climb onto the couch he hasn't been satisfied with that chair so I've started to let him sit where he chooses. This requires me to constantly watch him and remind him to sit on his bottom. If he gets up from the chair and starts playing I will turn the video off. It's getting annoying so I'm considering going back to strapping him in the chair!

12:00) Settle-Down Time: We go into Kye's room and play with a few of his calmer toys or just love on the animals or whatever. I change his diaper if he needs it also during this time.

12:20) Read Word Book: For the 10 min before his nap he has to sit in my lap in his chair and we read one of his YBCR word books together. It's good to review it before he sleeps and a good thing to do to calm him down to prepare him for his nap.

12:30) Down for Nap: Some days he goes down a little earlier but usually it's right at 12:30. He sleeps in the clothes he's been in all day (so great not to have to change clothes with him anymore for naps like we did when he was little!).

3:00-4:00) Up from Nap: I know that's a big range but if he's crying a lot at 3 I'll just get him up but some days he'll sleep until 4:00! Typically though his nap is from 12:30-3:30. I'm sure at some point he'll start only taking a 2 hour nap but I'll let him have three as long as he'll take it :)

After nap) Snack: He sits in his highchair and has a snack after he gets up from his nap or if we need to leave I'll just give him a snack cup on the go.

We go and do a LOT and I wanted his new schedule to be one that fit with our families lifestyle. I LOVE the new schedule because I set it up where the afternoon is completely free to do whatever. A normal afternoon we usually get done with his snack then he plays in the bathroom with me while I get ready and we leave as a family to go somewhere at around 5:00. If we have somewhere to be in the morning OR if we are just home all day with no where to go then this is his afternoon schedule:

After snack) roomtime (30 min): Even if he had it that morning, if we are home in the afternoon he will have it again. The schedule outlined in Toddlerwise has 2 thirty min increments of it a day.

After roomtime ~4:30ish) Learning Time: Again, if he already had it that day then I'll review everything or make up something fun to do that fits with the theme that week.

5:00) Daddy's free playtime with Kye: Typically this is more outside play (fresh batch of sunscreen!) and it gives me the chance to make dinner and have a little relaxation. IF Zach is not home and it's just Kye and I then I will have a longer learning time and have him watch his video again from 5:30-6 so I can make dinner.

6:00) Dinner as a family: Growing up my dad traveled a lot and then my parents divorced so I didn't get to have many true sit-down family meals. I remember always saying that when I got married I wanted my husband's wedding vows to say that he'd be home every night for dinner!  I married a man who is typically home every night around 5 (what a blessing!!!) and feels the family dinner dynamic is very important. We eat together as a family and we clean up as a family together as well. If Zach isn't home for dinner then Kye will eat alone and I will usually wait to eat with Zach.

After cleanup ~6:45ish) Bathtime: Zach enjoys having bath duty after we're done cleaning up from dinner and I usually do a few things on the computer (shocker) while Kye takes his bath. I think it's important for Zach to have some active roles in parts of Kye's schedule. He gets to have the fun Daddy time from 5-6 which is nice but it's also important for Kye to see Daddy sticking to the schedule and telling him what needs to be done. I feel that because Zach has bath and night duty that Kye has NO clingy mommy-issues. I think that it may also be because I focus so much on independence with him but still, it can't hurt for Zach to have an active role huh? Of course once another kid enters the picture I'm sure we'll do more a switch off of duties with this kind of thing! After his bath, Zach brushes his teeth and hair.

~7:10ish) Family time in Kye's room: This give us a chance to spend time together as a family.  I put lotion on Kye and we all just play together. Kye is his cutest right before bed at night...he's one of those kids that you wish you could just let stay up all night because the more tired he is, the more silly, cute, and fun he seems to get!

7:20) Story: I leave the room at about 7:20 (after getting my nite-nite kisses of course!) and Kye sits with Daddy reads a story and says nite-nite prayers before bed. Again, another thing I feel like is nice that Zach and Kye get to do together. I LOVE putting him to bed and enjoy those times when I get to but I know that when baby #2 comes around we'll be trading off and I want Zach to get some special things with Kye.

7:30) In bed for NIGHT! Toddlerwise discusses the importance of having a TRUE bedtime (not 7:35, 7:45, etc but 7:30) Zach will literally lay Kye in the crib right at or a couple minutes prior to 7:30. Sleep is SO important to Kye's happiness and development so it's a top priority in our household!

I can't say how much I love Toddlerwise enough. I am BEYOND grateful for the entire Babywise Series of books. If you are a parent and reading this I'd highly recommend investing in them. Even if you have a toddler and never did any of the Babywise stuff you can still follow Toddlerwise! I really love our new schedule. Since putting it in place Kye is happier and I am MUCH happier. I love that we knock out the "important" stuff in the mornings (roomtime especially), because then if we do go places later in the day I don't feel guilty. I'm pretty sure we'll be keeping the schedule like this for awhile! Anyone who ever assumes I sit at home twiddling my thumbs all day as a stay at home mom can now clearly see that my day is PACKED with one kid...I can't imagine how the schedule will be with TWO someday (Toddlerwise does outline how to handle two young children's scheduling fyi)?!?! It'll be crazy! How about eventually when it gets to 4? Whew...one day at a time :)

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